The new diet so far seems to be working for Steve. He can get hungry like the rest of us without crashing (and burning, I might add). So far, everything is working pretty well.
Since we're not eating cereals anymore, we don't need a large space for growing grains. I decided to go ahead and turn that area over to almond trees and blueberry bushes, neither of which I would have had space for had I gone ahead with the grains. But now I'll have room for both almonds and blueberries. The only other nut I would consider growing are walnuts, but they take twelve years to start producing, and I can't wait that long. Which is too bad- walnuts are high in plant omega-3's. They also take up a lot of room- I haven't heard of a dwarf walnut yet. I toyed with the idea of growing chestnuts, but they are such a pain to peel, and I've tried several methods. I'd rather just buy them occasionally and enjoy them as a special, hard won treat.
The nursery shipped my first order yesterday, and it arrived today. Unfortunately, the trees are not Dave Wilson Nursery grown trees, like I expected. I got the name of the nursery off the Dave Wilson Nursery website, so the fact that they have no Dave Wilson tags on them was a surprise, and not a good one. Dave Wilson trees have a great reputation, so that is what I wanted. And had they been Dave Wilson trees, I would expect that the retailing nursery would leave the DWN tags on them. I have been waiting since October for these trees. I expected them to ship in January, because that is when the nursery said they'd ship them, but since I didn't see a charge to my credit card for them by the thirty-first of the month, I gave them a call. They were waiting to ship everything because the raspberries I ordered hadn't arrived yet, so I had them ship the trees first. Then I decided to add the almonds and blueberries to the raspberry and boysenberry order, and they will ship around the 15th or 16th or so. The trees are in good shape and look like good trees, but how well can you tell when they're all tied together and still in the box? I won't really know until I get them out and separated and ready to put in the ground, which I'll do this weekend.
Are you in the least bit curious about what came today? The first of the order is apples- I chose varieties that keep well and are good multi-purpose or cider apples: two Honeycrisp, two Bramley's, two Golden Russet, and two Northern Spy. Those are the only trees that I will espalier. I also ordered two Italian plums because they are the best variety from which to make prunes, and I have to admit that I dearly love prunes, don't ask me why. Drying them should be a cinch- our wall oven has a dehydrator setting- isn't that cool? Then come the cherries, but a word of explanation on them first. Steve abhors cherries. It had to do with an experience from his childhood and it was evidently so awful that he won't even tell me about it. So I won't push it. But I adore cherries, and since I'm the planner/grower in the family, I bought myself a Lapins semi-dwarf sweet cherry for summer eating. Or summer bird feeding, more likely. I also bought a dwarf Montmorency sour cherry for maybe pie making (which should be interesting, given the new diet parameters) but I really bought it for brandying for gifts. I hope to get good at that. I also bought three hazelnut trees. I am not a huge fan of hazelnuts. I absolutely hate hazelnut flavoring in things like Frangelico, and beer, of all things. I was once at a beer tasting festival and they had a 'nut brown ale', which unknown to me, was flavored with hazelnuts. Blech! Pthooey! It took me three beers to get that taste out of my mouth because for some reason, it really lingered. That was not a good beer experience for me, and I have been drinking beer for a very long time. Longer than Steve, and not because I'm older than he is. I'll tell you about it sometime. But I digress. I can handle real hazelnuts ground up in things like cookies, and the other night we had some Dover sole that I'd crusted with ground hazelnuts, and that was pretty good. But mostly, the hazelnuts are for Steve, who loves them, especially with chocolate. They are a huge component of both Spritzgeback and Zimtwaffeln, the Christmas cookies I had to promise he could make at Christmas and which I mentioned in a previous post. The hazelnut trees I bought are Jefferson, Tonda di Giffoni, and Theta, which will cross-pollinate each other.
I got a few inches sawed on all of the stringers with my circular saw, and sawed the rest of the first one by hand without a problem, but the saw was pinching on the next couple of stringers, so I gave up until I could get help. Even though I've propped up the ends, or rather, where the new ends will be, with the same concrete blocks I found under the deck, the stringers are pinching, so Steve suggested holding them up with a crow bar. Which is a good idea, except that he'll have to do that while I saw them. Or I can hold them and he can saw.
Steve is a good one for applying rudimentary science principles to things that need to get done. I once had a stone, brick, and mortar barbecue in my backyard in Florida. This thing looked like a Popular Mechanics project or a WPA-built, national park barbecue- it was huge! It was in the wrong place, though- it was so far out in the yard that your beer would get warm on the way out there and your finished steak would get cold by the time you got back to the house. So it had to go. I'd worked on it off and on for a few months, chipping away with a cold chisel and a three-pound hammer. My brother worked on it for a while when he visited, only I handed him a maul so he could really swing at it. He didn't get much more done than I did. Finally I married Steve. He took a good hard look at it before applying the maul, and I remember being in the front yard and hearing the tinkling sound of brick and stone being freed from mortar and tumbling to the ground. I ran around back to find that he'd taken most of it down with a few swings at the right place. Applied science.
Anyway- the weekend looks like it will be fairly busy. My onion seeds finally showed up today as well, and they need to be started as soon as possible. Tree planting, beer brewing and bottling (different batches) and onion starting. It's good to have hobbies.